Dotson Iron Castings started as a blacksmith shop in 1876. Since that time, the company has become a leader in the US foundry market and is known throughout the world as an industry leader.
Over the past 15 years, Dotson has focused on modernizing its facility to lead the industry in lead time, quality, and automation. The COVID crisis and subsequent supply chain and labor disruptions found the company struggling with its best-in-class leadership.
Approximately 60% of Dotson’s employees are new since the beginning of the COVID crisis. Dotson doubled down on Industry 4.0 and leveraged various technologies and concepts to address labor concerns, changing workforce expectations, maintain quality, narrow process variation and improve productivity.
The tour will highlight:
- The company’s long-term transition from Laborers to Operators to Optimizers.
- Changes in tool building and design using simulation and 3D technologies.
- Big data in machine monitoring to allow new maintenance techs to succeed more quickly
- The use of digital twins in the development of material properties
- Next Gen workforce expectations from a facility and flexibility standpoint
Dotson Iron Castings Factory Plant Tour
Leveraging Manufacturing 4.0 Technologies to Thrive with the Next Gen Workforce
October 3-4, 2023, Mankato, Minnesota
Please note all times are in CST. Agenda will be updated with more specific session topics in the upcoming months.
October 3, 2023
5:30 p.m. – Registration
5:45 p.m. – Depart for Dinner
6:00 p.m. – Networking Reception
6:30 p.m. – Networking Dinner
8:30 p.m. – Depart for Hotel
October 4, 2023
7:45 a.m. – Breakfast and Registration at Group Hotel
8:30 a.m. – Manufacturing Leadership Council Welcome
8:45 a.m. – Dotson Iron Castings Welcome and Overview
9:30 p.m. – Depart for Plant
10:00 a.m. – Dotson Iron Castings Plant Tour
11:45 a.m. – Depart for Hotel
12:00 p.m. – Networking Lunch
1:00 p.m. – Breakout Sessions
2:30 p.m. – Networking Break
3:00 p.m. – Panel Discussion
4:00 p.m. – Event Concludes
Speakers and Panelists
Eric Nelson, Vice President, Dotson Iron Castings
Manufacturing Leadership Council Member
Eric started at Dotson Iron Castings 25 years ago and has worked there for 19 years in the areas of Quality, Metallurgy, Plant Engineering, Maintenance, and Operations. There were two hiatuses to be a Peace Corps volunteer and bicycle the three Americas. He is currently the President of the Ductile Iron Society and the immediate past chair of the American Foundry Society Cast Iron Division.
Eric has B.S. in Metallurgical Engineering and is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management’s Executive Management Program.
Group Hotel: Country Inn & Suites Mankato
Discounted room rate: $129
Reservation Cutoff: Tuesday, September 12
To make your reservations by phone, call 1 (507) 388-8555 and ask for the room block for the Dotson Plant Tour group.
Please note: You cannot book a room online within our room block at this time.
Suggested International Airport
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP / KMSP) – 1 hour 15-minute drive
Suggested Travel Dates
Arrival: Late morning/early afternoon on Tuesday, October 3, 2023.
To ensure you arrive in time to attend the kickoff networking dinner that evening.
Suggested Departure: Morning of Thursday, October 5 or after 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 4.
To ensure you do not need to leave the tour and sessions early or miss out on any post-event networking opportunities!
Bus transportation will be provided to all event functions from the group hotel. You will be responsible for your own transportation to and from the airport.
Dotson's furnace charging area highlights the transition from Laborers to Operators to Optimizers. Over the past 25 years, the job of charging has transitioned from wheelbarrows and pitchforks to an operated manipulator to the current automated set up with a single individual optimizing the iron melting process from charging to liquid metal. Over these iterations, process variation has been narrowed by over 80%.